Effective Teacher Leadership for Curriculum Change in Early Childhood Education

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Principal Investigator
Dr. Dora Ho
Research Fellow of APCLC,
The Education University of Hong Kong
Professor Leon Tikly
Professor Lee Moosung
Funding Source
General Research Fund
Project Duration


This research project aims to develop new conceptions and possible reinterpretations of the distributed models of teacher leadership promoted in the West as the key to school improvement by investigating the phenomenon of teacher leadership in a Chinese, policy-driven early education context. In Hong Kong, the Education Bureau issued a Guide to the Pre-primary Curriculum in 2006, which stated that pre-primary institutions must establish internal mechanisms for curriculum improvement. In response to the new curriculum policy, many kindergarten principals have set up functional groups of teachers to coordinate and manage curriculum change. A practice of teacher leadership is emerging in the field of early childhood education in Hong Kong that follows the trend in many Western developed countries, including the UK, US and Canada. 

As the project is the first of its kind to investigate effective teacher leadership for curriculum change in the local field of early childhood education, an inductive research approach will be adopted using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. Adopting a grounded theory approach, the research will have two phases: exploratory and confirmatory. The first phase of the study will explore the phenomenon of teacher leadership in a sample of kindergartens. The qualitative case study methodology will be used to investigate the views of teacher leadership held by various stakeholders, including school principals, key stage coordinators and teaching staff. The findings of the case studies will then be used as the hypothetical basis for a territory-wide quantitative questionnaire. The ultimate goal of the project is to capture a fuller picture of teacher leadership in the local field of early childhood education, and critique the way in which Western models of teacher leadership are being put forward as solutions in a Chinese, policy-driven context. 

  1. To investigate how teacher leadership is understood in relation to curriculum change in kindergartens in Hong Kong;
  2. To identify the roles and responsibilities of teacher leaders for curriculum change;
  3. To understand the process and practice of teacher leadership in coordinating and leading curriculum change;
  4. To identify the conditions that support and challenge the development of teacher leadership at school level; and
  5. To explore the links between teacher leadership and curriculum change.

Ho, D. & Tikly, L. (Manuscript) Conceptualizing Teacher Leadership in a Chinese, Policy-driven Context: A Research Agenda